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Submission on the Care of Children Bill 2003

Summary

  • We support the intention of this Bill, as best outlined in clause 5, to increase children’s participation in decisions made about their future. However, we have concerns that this intention is not sufficiently reflected in processes set up by this Bill.
  • Reference should be made, in referring to the rights of parents, to the corresponding rights of children.
  • Children's involvement in decisions which affect them needs to be strengthened and clarified,
  • Lawyers acting for children should represent children's views fairly and accurately, rather than what they believe would be best for the children.
  • We are very concerned at the assumption that a parent’s new partner will be an appropriate guardian for the child, and tha here seems to be no procedure for removing a step-parent as guardian when a relationship ends.
  • Counselling needs to be made available to children themselves, not merely those around them.
  • Caritas has concerns about the imposition of sanctions, bonds and orders against parents who contravene parenting orders.

See also the 2003 submission on the Families Commission.

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